Poet Seamus Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1995, is seen here in a file photo from 1991, when he was a professor at Harvard. Heaney has died at age 74. Joe Wrinn/AP hide caption

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The view down Main Street in Concord, N.H., reflects the community's small-town feel. Author Ben Winters doesn't live in Concord, but he sets his mystery novels there — he says the city's peaceful, unpretentious atmosphere makes it an appealing setting. Michel Gagnon/Flickr hide caption

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In his home library, Leonard kept copies of every book he'd ever written. Paul Sancya/AP hide caption

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The Tyson Library in Ludlow, Vt., is required to support itself independently; public libraries in Vermont receive no state funding. Neda Ulaby/NPR hide caption

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The Santa Barbara County Courthouse, a Spanish-Moorish landmark, was built in 1929. Anna Fox (harshlight)/Flickr hide caption

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Taylor Schilling plays Piper in Netflix's Orange Is the New Black, which is based on Piper Kerman's memoir of her year in prison. Jessica Miglio/Netflix hide caption

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Farmers market visitors browse the offerings of Seattle Public Library's "Books on Bikes" program. Gabriel Spitzer for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Gabriel Spitzer for NPR

Poor Donna Reed: Her Mary would have ended up working in a library — shudder — if not for the matrimonial intervention of Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey. Happily, 1946's It's a Wonderful Life isn't the only lens through which pop culture assesses the worth of the institution and those who make it tick. RKO Pictures/Getty Images hide caption

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